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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Of Course, Running in the Opposite Direction is an Option as Well

The woman on the elevator turns to me. “I have a very serious illness you know,” she says.

No. I didn’t know that. But soon I will, and do you know why?

Because I have the face that launches a thousand confessions.

“I wanted to name my first dog Bowser,” says the man on the bus.

“Is that right,” I say.

There is a silence.

“You want to know why I didn’t?” he says.

“Sure,” I say. “Hit me.”

“Because my mom thought it was a terrible name.”

I look at him. His mom? By all appearances, he appears to be firmly entrenched in his 60s.

“Well what’s it to her?” I ask.

“EXACTLY,” he shouts. Heads turn and he leans in to whisper angrily. “Exactly. What the bricken bracken fargle raggen was it to her?”

He didn’t really say “bricken bracken fargle raggen” of course. He was a bit more vehement than that.

But you get the picture.

I assure him that Bowser is a perfectly reasonable name for a dog, and I get off the bus two stops earlier than I need to.

It’s good for my legs.

My father has this face as well, this tell-me-your-secrets face. “Does it hurt to listen?” he says. “No. You nod, you take them seriously, you let them speak. People just want to be heard.”

And so I let them speak. Because it doesn’t cost anything to listen. Because the more people there are, the fewer voices we hear.

And because it is the way of my people.

42 comments:

Glen said...

I met a girl in a strip club once - guess what happened?

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

There are a lot of lonely, hurting people out there. Thanks for listening.

Gigi said...

A wise man, your father. No, it doesn't hurt to listen. Usually.

Sioux said...

Sometimes it DOES hurt. Can you stab out your mind's ear, after hearing some of the stuff you hear? I guess not, but you can always use their jibber-jabber as fodder for your blog.

Oh, that's right. You do.

mapstew said...

And you are good people! :¬)

xxx

Eva Gallant said...

It doesn't hurt to listen, unless we're talking heavy metal!

Simply Suthern said...

A good run is better than a bad stand.

Roses said...

Sometimes, you might be the only person they'll talk to that day. That's the scary bit. They talk to you and then you find out why.

But you're right, it's good to listen. You don't have to hear.

Leenie said...

It's your own fault. I'm guessing you make eye contact, you might even smile. You're looking for the reason why they are wearing half their head shaved and fifteen eyebrow piercings so you can use it in your blog.

Pat said...

Comes of having a sympathetic persona. Good on you.

darlin said...

Pearl I have one of those faces as well and it's amazing some of the stories I've heard. I agree, people just want somebody to listen, so listen I do. I was sure glad when I got my car and quit riding the bus though, the tell all confessions have simmered down, not stopped, but simmered down. In a few more months I'll be paid to listen, I wonder if adding the title to my name will create a type of tension and people won't say as much to me then... time will tell.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Jo said...

I have one of those faces, too.

You are FABULOUS.

Linda O'Connell said...

I have this little riased flesh-colored mole on my forehead that is covered by bangs. Every now and then, it must become exposed, because I swear it is a magnet for weirdos. I once heard that if you make eye contact for more than three seconds it gives the other person the impression that you care. Sheesh, but it makes for good writing fodder.

Linda O'Connell said...

OK, that was supposed to be RAISED.

PattiKen said...

I'm here by way of The Everyday Goddess. And I know just what you mean. I've always said I must have a flashing sign across my forehead (visible only to those who need it, of course) saying "Mother Confessor." Sometimes, it's...um...just a wee bit uncomfortable, isn't it?

savannah said...

the MITM attracts the same sort of confidences, sugar. i swear, i don't know what it is, but he attracts 'em all! i, on the other hand, am the random talker who strikes up conversations all the time! whoa, maybe that's why we're still married...xoxoxoxo

Vinny C said...

The burden is heavy but I bet you carry it well. By the way, did I ever tell you about how my goldfish died? It was so sad...

jenny_o said...

Why do I always get the talkers who don't want you just to nod and listen, they want active participation and agreement - crikey!

LOLA said...

Oh dear. I have that face too. It was a dangerous face when I was a reporter. People told me all sorts of things without saying, This is off the record.

Love,
Lola

KleinsteMotte said...

Gotta tell you I love the ending most of all. We all need to be heard just a bit and it's harder now than ever.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Yup,the "gift". The gift of a caring heart. It is often a burden, but I can't imagine being any other way. Sometimes I wish I didn't care, that I could just go on my merry way. I hear more crazy/awful stuff than most people can imagine.You go Pearl. You make your little corner of the bus just a wee bit better for being there. And sharing with all of us!

Michelle said...

You see,..this is what pissed us all off in the first place..." the Gift"...GUY HURE has never been a GIFT and will never , ever be a GIFT!
case in point?
GREYHOUND PROTECTION LEAGUE in PENN VALLEY.
So, you see your mistakes?
But the biggest one was dealing with CATSAPP because all her TERUL is, quite frankly, ....
" fucked".
This is why Manole and Dupar are over the top in HONTME.
And this is why BONSTOCT went on "strike".

Michelle said...

PS...we shall cover PORKMJ..." later".
" Gimme shelter!"
Nice try.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Whatever Michelle is on, I want some.

Hilary said...

Your Dad raised you right.

And look at the comment your confession-launching face released here.

The Elephant's Child said...

Snap. While travelling on the buses people have told me some amazing things. I assumed it was Lifeline pheronomes ooozing out of my pores, but you have my wondering whether it is a genetic thing. Want an australian cousin?

R. Jacob said...

stun gun in lap at the ready

Daisy said...

I seem to attract the same "confessions" and confidences. Most of the time I'm glad to listen ... sometimes not so much! I scare easily!

Daisy's Barbara ... Daisy just makes believe she is listening. She'll do anything, almost, for a treat.

Antares Cryptos said...

They find me too.

Your post made me laugh and think. Perfect combo.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

I have that line ready....used it yesterday, in fact: "Gotta Run. Nice talking with you."
Let them get it out, make a non-judgmental sound, and then, run for it. The world needs more listeners.
Rosemary

KAT said...

So you were that nice lady that listened to my life story one time in an elevator! LOL

River said...

I get a fair bit of that at the checkout, as well as having "home delivery girl" stamped across my face. I swear I get more "home delivery please" customers than the rest of the checkouts combined. I'm betting it's because these are usually elderly customers and I have the patience to wait and help while they go so slowly.

Michelle said...

GUY was always a schmuck.
But then, that's why he is now a " KANSAS KING".
ESSETOTS?
" Opposite Direction"?
You people actually " belief" you 'll get away with EYIESSE and ESSETOTS?
How delusional are you in " explosives" & the poor children that got DELUVR.
PORKMJ is now with YOKO and CROW and that can't be good for " PEARL".
And we do know that's EARL....with DON.

Murr Brewster said...

Well bless your heart. Because, really? Sometimes it does cost a little to listen.

lgsquirrel said...

A good listener is indeed rare. And one that doesn't call herself a counselor or therapist and charges for listening even rarer.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

I have this same face. Oy. The older I get, though, the less patience I seem to have for this kind of thing. Older and crankier, I guess.

That gentleman's lady said...

Pearl, let me tell you a secret......

Keely said...

I have the opposite face. People never volunteer anything weird to me, it's a little disappointing.

Linda Myers said...

Listen on!

Susan in the Boonies said...

It's so true: we just want to be validated. In your comments alone, I've revealed more truths than ought to be told about me.

If someone writes a biography on any of your commenters, I suspect you possess a researcher's gold mine. Kitty Kelly may Kome Kalling.

J Stewart III said...

Love it! Had a security guard last week tell me he came up with the idea of "NetFlix" 20 years ago, but didn't patent it. I just humored him and said, "Well, I'm sure you'll come up with another multi-hundred million dollar idea again some day...."?

PS - We were both just recognized by "Everyday Goddess" as having the best posts of the week! Congrats!

Gary Baker said...

There are not enough Yosemite Sam references in blogs these days ...